While the number of academic jobs available in the UK compared to the number of candidates available is shrinking and only looks to get worse over the next few years, in Australia they have a different sort of career challenge: a shortage of permanent academic staff!
In an article in this week’s University World News, Geoff Maslen explores the reasons why Australian universities are struggling to hold on to PhD candidates and encourage them to stay in academia. To read the whole article, please click here.
The trend there is similar to the US and the UK, away from permanent tenured lectureships and towards short term contracts and sessional lecturing. This has meant that universities have not put in the time and investment needed to develop the permanent staff base.
While recruiting from overseas is one option, the international job market is very competitive at the moment with jobseekers increasingly realising that they have to market their skills globally. So, perhaps now is a good time to think globally and work out whether you might want to teach abroad.
Australia, like other countries, needs to work harder to integrate its sessional workforce into the academic system instead of treating them like second-class citizens. And while this is an institutional and structural problem in many cases, it’s also the responsibility of us academics on permanent contracts to reach out to our sessional colleagues.